Warm sunlight cascaded down on his skin, warming him and filling his senses with utmost pleasure. He couldn’t be in Seoul anymore… It had been on a jag of rain and clouds and was nothing compared to what he was experiencing in this moment. Warm wind kissed his face, making his hair whip around.
“Woojin,” A sweet toned voice pierced the air, making Woojin’s ears perk up. He turned to see Jihoon, his black hair also gently whipping against his forehead in the wind. A pink tint had spread across his cheeks as his smile took up the bottom third of his face. He’s so beautiful. Woojin thought to himself, watching as the younger boy outstretched his hand toward him. Woojin wanted to take it-- he wanted it more than anything but it was like there were vices keeping his hands glued to his side. He could only watch as Jihoon waited, starting to fade away. Jihoon opened his mouth again, the sound of an alarm bellowing from between his lips that made Woojin jump.
Woojin was definitely dreaming.
He stirred awake, blindly tapping the screen of his phone to shut his alarm up before he got annoyed and just chucked it at the wall. He hated the sound of the alarm more than anything because it meant he had to go to class-- which when he wasn’t freshly awakened, he actually didn’t mind going since he was in his last year of university. He also hated when he had dreams like that about his dear friend Jihoon. He had known Jihoon for nearly three years. He had moved into the same dorm as Woojin when he was in his second year. Woojin had been the resident assistant on his floor, meaning he was charged with making sure everyone had an easy time moving in and felt welcomed. Jihoon had struck Woojin’s heartstrings even back then. And he’s honestly been whipped for the boy ever since. However, he recently had been dreaming of him at least once a week and to be honest, it was getting quite frustrating.
Woojin finally hit the stop button on his phone and sat up in bed, rubbing his eyes and running a hand through his brunette locks. Woojin full well guessed he should get ready for class.
Of course, Woojin couldn’t escape his dream that replayed in his head when he saw Jihoon across the main square of campus. Jihoon was sitting on a retaining wall, phone in hand as he looked down and tapped wildly away at the screen. A slight smile was upon his face, causing his cheeks to look a bit plump. Woojin found himself wearing a similar expression, casting it away as soon as he realised it was there.
He sighed deeply when he saw Jihoon’s girlfriend attach to his side, watching Jihoon’s smile grow when he saw her and wishing so desperately to be the one that put a smile on his face like she could. He groaned, thrusting his fists into the muffler pocket on his hoodie and propelled himself toward his dear friend who had started listening to his girlfriend tell a story about something that had happened the night before.
Jihoon’s girlfriend was Kang Minji. She was a nice girl, Woojin had to give her credit for that. She was in an academic sorority and she kept her grades up while maintaining some semblance of a social life and she seemed to keep Jihoon happy. Fucking wonderful if you asked Woojin.
“So I told her that she wasn’t supposed to just understand the answer to the problem immediately. She was supposed to use an algorithm. Hey, Woojin.” Minji said, acknowledging Woojin as he stood there, awkwardly listening in on their conversation.
“Hey Minji, hey Jihoon.” He said before taking a seat next to Jihoon on the wall, trying not to stare too intently at him.
“Minji can you help me study for my music theory class? I’ve literally got no idea what I’m doing there.” Jihoon pouted and Woojin could’ve punched himself.
“Mm, I’m busy tonight, I have stuff to do with the other girls.”
“I can help you, I passed the 301 class last year.” Woojin pipes in. Jihoon looks at him with a blank expression and Woojin can’t help but to cheese, giving Jihoon a huge smile. Jihoon grinned back at him.
“Thanks, should I come to your dorm since you room alone? My roommate is still kinda…”
“Yeah, yeah, my room would be fine, I know how your roommate can be,” Woojin nearly choked on the last word. Fuck. He only got this way around Jihoon and only recently when he realised how much he actually felt for him. The feelings he harboured for Jihoon kind of came out of nowhere. He remembered exactly when it happened and it's a moment that Woojin continually replays in his mind on a loop, trying to see exactly why he felt the way he did and if he could somehow move past it… But truth be told, Woojin would be damned if he lost feelings for Jihoon at that point. He secretly loved the suffering.
Since Woojin was an RA for their floor in the dorm, he had to group them together and do ice breakers so that people could get to know each other better and hopefully make some friends along the way. Woojin had told everyone to partner up with someone so that they could get to know each other better and to Woojin’s surprise, Jihoon ended up being the odd man out. At that time, Jihoon was nineteen years old with chopped hair and cheeks so chubby that it made him look even younger than he was. And it really didn’t help that he had gotten a bit of a late start at university.
“We can just do the exercise together.” Woojin had said, offering him a smile which he kindly returned. There was a party the last night of the orientation where Jihoon had gotten wasted and he wasn’t really the best at taking care of himself, so Woojin stepped in. And it was sitting across from Jihoon at 4am in a twenty-four hour diner that Woojin had fallen for Jihoon. The way the red and purple lights from the neon signs cascaded on his skin, illuminating him like a utopian angel. And how he was so effortlessly beautiful inside and out... They ended up fucking hitting it off and Woojin swears that Jihoon doesn’t even feel the connection because months before the second term of the year ended he had started dating Minji. Woojin couldn’t help but to roll his eyes, and his dear friend, Daehwi, had told him to not worry because relationships like that in college don’t last. But it's been about two years since then.
Woojin figures that they do last.
“Ah, we should probably get going to class, it's nearly ten.”
“Right, yeah. I’ll see you later, Minji.” Jihoon said. They all rose to their feet and Woojin stepped back as he watched Jihoon kiss her, his eyes going wide before sending an aching pang through his chest, his gaze shifted to the ground as they broke apart from each other. Woojin started to walk away, letting Jihoon follow behind whenever he was done saying goodbye to Minji. He heard shoes scrape against the pavement as Jihoon’s face slammed against his back before he caught himself. Jihoon giggled and it was literal music to Woojin’s ears.
“Sorry,” he said, matching Woojin’s footsteps as he walked beside him.
“Don’t worry about it, are you okay?”
“Yes. I just lost my footing for a second.”
Woojin let his eyes linger on Jihoon’s face as they kept walking in the pique of the awkward silence that followed, watching how it looked when it was relaxed and unaware of the eyes that gazed upon it. He was so unintentionally beautiful, the way his lips pouted out, how his eyes cast down to the ground to watch his steps (more careful since he had nearly fallen), and his dark eyelashes that jutted out from his lids. Woojin shook his head, a last-ditch effort to shake thoughts like these from his mind because he knew that Jihoon was the ultimate unattainable prize.
Woojin had lost himself completely in his last class of the day-- which was basically a two hour “class” where he played piano. It was technically a performance preparation class, but Woojin always felt ready and comfortable to play the piano. In fact, it was the only thing he was really sure about anymore. It was always so constant, how he would walk into the classroom and take himself to one of the soundproof booths with nothing but a piano inside. How the keys moved under his command as he played beautiful music with just the touch of his fingers… It felt liberating to sit there and forget everything around him.
Woojin heard the door click open behind him and he grinned gently down at his hands as he tickled the ivories. He knew Jihoon had walked in just based on his aura that spread in the practice room as soon as he had entered. Woojin finished playing what he was in the middle of and took a deep breath before turning to face Jihoon.
“Woojin…” It was almost as if Jihoon was in disbelief. “That sounded so beautiful, is it new?” Jihoon sat on the end of the long piano bench next to Woojin and glanced at the piano keys before he looked at Woojin, anticipating his response.
“I composed it… It's still just a draft but I feel like I’m making some progress.” Woojin rubbed the back of his neck and shrugged, silently shrinking inside from Jihoon’s “That sounded so beautiful,”
“Are you kidding? It's still a draft? I can’t believe I have such a talented friend . Can you play it for me from beginning to end? I want to hear it all.”
“Of course, anything for you.” Woojin said, chuckling a bit at Jihoon’s request as his head swelled four times bigger than its typical size.
He lined his fingers up on the keys, closing his eyes and inhaling deeply. He let his body take over everything, propelling his fingers to stroke the keys as the mallets within the piano struck chords just as Woojin directed them to. He felt the music in his veins, coursing through his body; he lived in it and he was eating it up all around him. He bobbed a little bit as he really got into it, letting the notes guide him as he was suddenly hyper aware of Jihoon’s presence next to him and to be honest it was kind of making him tingle and feel nervous. Woojin’s eyes opened slowly as he glanced to Jihoon beside him. He had taken out his phone and-- wait, was he recording Woojin?
Jihoon was wearing the biggest goofiest grin that Woojin had ever seen as he watched him through his phone’s camera. Woojin flashed Jihoon’s phone a smile before losing himself in the music again. Before he knew it, the song was over and his fingers were resting on the last keys that he played as he savoured the fleeting moment, his last few seconds of complete solace.
“So?” Woojin’s voice hung, stretching out the word.
“You play so beautifully. You’re going to go places one day, you know that? You’re going to be famous and I won’t accept anything else.”
“Ah, no. Don’t say that, Jihoon, you’re too much.”
“I mean it! Passion really goes a long way and I can see how passionate you are.”
Woojin paused, unable to stop the smile that gently splayed itself on his face as he cast his eyes down, looking at something he considered the love of his life before closing the fallboard on the piano and grabbing his backpack before standing.
“Thank you.” he headed for the door, opening it and standing, waiting for Jihoon to get up and make his way out the door.
“Where are you going?” Jihoon stared at him quizzically from the piano bench.
“You want me to help you pass your music theory class, don’t you?”
Jihoon looked down for a second, obviously taken by surprise. “Fair enough.”
* * *
“Jihoon… it's the second month of classes, how do you still not have rudiments down?”
Woojin and Jihoon sat across from each other on the floor, Woojin with his legs stretched out in front of him and Jihoon sitting cross legged with his notes placed neatly in his lap. Woojin clutched a pencil in his hand, wagging it back and forth and letting it weave in between his fingers. Jihoon’s phone buzzed in his pocket, the vibration audible over the thick silence. Jihoon took it out, rejecting the call and sliding it away from him on the floor.
“Listen, I only took this class for my music credit. I’m a dance major not a musician, ugh. I’m going to fail, aren’t I?” Jihoon covered his face with his hands and sighed into his palms.
“You took a level 300 class for a required credit, Jihoon. That’s pretty questionable behaviour.”
“Please… I don’t need you pointing out my questionable judgement. I’m suffering enough.” Jihoon’s hands slid down his face to his chin, resting his elbows on his knees and holding his head up. “Can’t you just… do it for m--”
“Jihoon, rudiments are so easy that I could literally do them in my sleep so it's going to be nothing to teach it to you. Come here so we can look at this paper together.”
Jihoon scooted himself to Woojin’s side and made Woojin regret his request almost immediately. Jihoon has more or less melded himself into Woojin as he looked at the paper and waited for him to explain rudiments. He relaxed a bit, letting his leg push against Jihoon’s, and when Jihoon made no effort to get away from him or say anything about it, he felt a bit better about the whole situation.
“Alright so, what do you actually understand?” Woojin tried his best to look Jihoon in the eye, but in this position it just wasn’t possible. Jihoon sighed, resting his elbow on Woojin’s thigh and resting his chin in his hand again.
“Can we like… take a break? I feel so dumb.” He huffed
They had just started, but Woojin really couldn’t bear to say no to Jihoon-- he just couldn’t bring himself to. “Yeah, of course.”
Jihoon brought his knees up, wrapping his arms around his legs. He looked up at Woojin and the breath was ripped from Woojin’s lungs as their gaze met. God, Jihoon really was beautiful, Woojin couldn’t stress it enough in his mind. He could stare at him all day if Jihoon would let him… as if he’d ever ask.
“You’re not dumb, by the way. I’m making it out to be easy but I am a music major… So I guess it just comes to me naturally.” Woojin paused, wondering if he should really ask what’s on his mind. “Do you… do you just want me to do it for you?” Woojin regretted his words, he knew he had work due himself for classes… But he would do anything for Jihoon. Plus, he passed the class last year so it should be nothing, right?
“Ah, I couldn’t ask you to do that, Woojin.” Jihoon’s eyes were downcast.
“It’s really no big deal, I’m really not busy or anything. I’ll have it done by tomorrow.” Woojin wanted to be someone else so he could punch himself in the throat. He was definitely busy and he definitely would have to struggle to get it done by the morning, but Woojin was hell bent on being Jihoon’s personal nerd just to make things easier.
“Honestly, that would be great.” Jihoon’s phone started buzzing again, this time louder as it droned against the floor. Jihoon tsked before reaching out to get it. “Listen, I really have to go. Minji wants me to go with her and her friends to look at dresses for their event they’re hosting in a few weeks. And then we’re going to go meet up with her brother.”
“And you enjoy that?” Woojin chuckled, masking the pain he felt spread through his heart.
“Well, she is my girlfriend, so…” and the minor pain turned into an explosion.
“I’ll see you later, Jihoon.” Woojin rose to his feet, following Jihoon to the door and sliding on his own shoes as well.
“See ya. Thanks again, Woojin.”
* * *
“You really let him bully you into doing his homework for him?” Daehwi was nursing a plate of fries as Woojin scribbled away at the paper that Jihoon had left with him.
“Shut up, he didn’t bully me.” Woojin paused, looking up at Daehwi. He had on glittery eyeshadow and some lip gloss-- which was actually pretty tame compared to what he usually wore on his face. Woojin liked the way the eyeshadow reflected gold in the light. Woojin pushed his headband back up onto the plain of his forehead as it had started to fall over his eyes. “I offered. ”
Woojin had to admit, the two were an odd pair sitting in the middle of such a basic looking cafe. Woojin, a bright blue headband strapped around his forehead with his faded hair that used to be a reddish brown that had now turned to a soft caramel colour. He had on a faded denim jacket and black fingerless gloves. It was cold outside but honestly, Woojin would have worn them regardless. Coupled with a button up shirt with a bright floral pattern on it, tight black jeans, and black leather chelsea boots, Woojin was quite a sight himself.
It didn’t help that Daehwi also didn’t make the most “normal” choices in what he wore, he really picked whatever he was into, regardless of what body it was meant to go on. His only limit was heels, he refused to put himself through that kind of torture. Today, Daehwi had a pink fur coat draped over his shoulders, a black turtleneck with cap sleeves paired with faux leather pants, strappy black flats, and a breton cap that really tied it all together. Daehwi looked chic as fuck and he knew it and Woojin would be lying if he said he didn’t think that Daehwi was the most beautiful person he knew inside and out. He was one of Woojin’s best friends.
Daehwi rolled his eyes, popping a fry into his mouth. “You’ve got to stop pining over straight boys, Wooj. Especially the painfully straight ones.”
“I just like him so much, Dae.” Woojin put his face in his hands and looked on at Daehwi who just laughed at him, chucking a fry at his covered face.
“How are you so pathetic over him, has he even ever done anything for you?”
“I’ve told you the stories before, you know what we’ve been through together.” Woojin reeled his mind in, trying not to think of the nights that he and Jihoon had just stayed up talking about life, their dreams, their fears, all that cliche shit. And how he always insisted on letting Jihoon take his bed and Jihoon insisting that it’s big enough for the both of them since Woojin had a double. And how Jihoon could be a bit grabby with his hands, putting his arm around Woojin or lacing their arms together, or just simple touches. All of it drove Woojin mad, but there wasn’t a thing he could do about it.
“Why don’t you just tell him you like him?” Daehwi took a sip of his water, playing with the straw and pushing around his ice when he sat it back down on the table and letting his gaze stay unwavering as he looked on at Woojin. It's one of the things that annoyed Woojin about Daehwi. He had a way of looking at you that would make you spill everything in your head out to him, tell him anything that he wanted. And Woojin hated that.
Woojin choked out a strangled laugh that was obviously pained and took on a manic sound and Daehwi grimaced at him. “You’re so goddamn cute sometimes, Daehwi, you know that?”
“I’m cute all the time, but that’s beside the point. So, why?”
“Ugh, do you even know what it's like to have feelings for someone who will never reciprocate them? Jesus. How could I even tell him? It would ruin everything, Dae. Everything. Our friendship we’ve built over the past couple of years would be for nothing and I really can’t give that away. I adore him too much to let him know.” Woojin felt completely and utterly defeated.
“Are you still going to Jisung’s party this weekend?”
“Of course I am.”
“You’re bringing Jihoon, getting him drunk, and telling him. It’s going to be the only way you can ever get it off your chest and the first step to moving on.” But I don’t want to move on. Woojin kept it to himself.
“What if he remembers? It would be the end of me.”
“He won’t remember, I’ll run defense and makes sure he gets plastered. Don’t worry about a thing, baby.”
Woojin was skeptical, he did feel kind of good about telling Jihoon-- at least in some shape or form. It would be like lifting weight off of his shoulders, weight that he had been holding for more than two years. But Woojin knew in his mind, he wouldn’t be able to let Jihoon go, Daehwi was crazy if he thought that Woojin was going to get over Jihoon just like that. He lacked the resilience that Daehwi had and seemed to think that Woojin also had in terms of feelings.
But, hell. Woojin would give it a try.